John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
When the German settlers came to Milwaukee, they brought with them one of their favorite pastimes. The "Kegler" was what the Germans called a bowler. Many of the German churches installed bowling alleys in their basements or in their school basements. St. Lucas Evangelical Lutheran Church had a bowling alley in their school basement. The Major Seminary had a bowling alley inside of one of their buildings. St. Martini's Lutheran Church on S. 16th St. still has a bowling alley there.
In recent times, most of these places have dropped their bowling alleys for lack of use and needed space in the buildings. The German triangle of Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri and Milwaukee, Wisconsin all had large German populations with many of their churches having bowling alleys in them. This is why bowling has always been so popular in this area and why Milwaukee is the bowling capitol of the United States and has the Bowling Hall of Fame here.
I felt that people should know why bowling became established here. Today bowling is not as popular as it used to be. On occasion you can watch a bowling tournament on television. We used to have "Bowling for Dollars" as a television show here. Bowling shows were very popular on Sundays. The Red Carpet used to have several bowling alleys here. This is a sport that the entire family can participate in. Many taverns still sponsor bowling leagues. In winter, bowling is still very popular here. Some day if you have the time, take your family out and try to bowl a few games together. You might be reliving a part of our past.
As long as we still have bowling alleys, take advantage of them and try your luck on the alleys. Remember not everybody can bowl a three hundred game, but you can have fun trying to do it. Support your local bowling alleys and have some fun.